The Obelisk Gate - N.K. Jemisin

I have to admit, it took me a long time (for me, that is, so it's relative) to finish The Obelisk Gate but that was all about me and where my brain's been at recently and not a reflection on the quality of the book - this is the sequel to the Hugo-award winning The Fifth Season and I usually try and do a re-read before plunging into book 2 but knew that would cause even more delay this time around. 

 

The previous book introduces us to a world which has been regularly afflicted with cataclysmic events, ones which drive its human population to the very edge, and also to a world where some humans (known as orogenes, or more dismissively 'roggas') have the ability to control the forces of the planet and use it either destructively or protectively. Because of the power they potentially wield, there's a lot of prejudice towards them and also a whole set-up involving people who 'control' those individuals by what are quite clearly abusive means.

 

In The Obelisk Gate, we're dealing with the aftermath of events in The Fifth Season - our main character Essun, who is an orogene, finds herself part of a community and faced with the twin problems of mastering her powers for a particular mission and dealing with the death of one of her friends. Meanwhile, her daughter Nassun has been kidnapped by her father and taken; she's already witnessed the murder of her brother (by their father) because of his powers and Nassun is forced to manipulate Jija so she doesn't share the same fate. Jija is in search of a place that can supposedly 'cure' orogenes but finds something that's even less to his tastes, a place that is meant to help them learn to use their powers without the attendant cruelty. 

 

Since this is a trilogy, there's still a lot to be resolved and explained in the upcoming third book, and I hope it gets published on schedule next summer! As usual, Jemisin's writing is excellent and evocative; she's now writing full-time so I can't wait to see what she comes up with in the future, though this series is going to be a tough act to follow! Highly recommended, though that'll come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, and unless some unexpectedly good stuff arrives between now and then, The Obelisk Gate will be on my Hugo nomination form next year for Best Novel.